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ALEXANDER  VON  HXJMBOLBT.                   89
Gay-Lussac, he added new experiences and combina-
tions to the observations of the magnetic needle
which he had made in Paris in 1798, and examined
especially the magnetic qualities of certain species of
rock,, especially of serpentin, a black-green, snake-like,
spotted talc.
When Alexander had combined the happy moments
of this fraternal meeting with new scientific inquiries,
he returned from Italy, and tarried in Berlin during
1806 and 1807, where he had unfortunately to
witness the political degradation of his native land,
but at the same time achieved great scientific victories.
It was especially the magnet which occxipied him,
and by the numerous experiments which he made on
one and the same magnet during his travels, at that
time, as well as at subsequent periods, he not only
induced other naturalists to similar measurements, but
furnished the elements which Biot worked on in
calculating the magnetic equator. Hximboldt had
continued his magnetic observations with Gay-
Lussac, with whom he was in the most intimate,
friendly, and scientific intercourse, in Paris, and he
had discovered that the great mountain chains, and
even the active volcanos, exercise no perceptible force
ou the magnetic power, but that it deviates gradually
with its distance from the equator.
But in a literary point of view Humbolclt was also
active, for he must have completed, or, at all events,
commenced here in Berlin, the manuscript of one of
the few works he published in German, as it appeared
during the next year, 1808, when he was in Paris.
At this period Humboldt had returned to Paris to
his faithful travelling companion, Bonpland, in order
to continxio the gigantic work of travel they
had commenced with the assistance of celebrated
The "Views of Nature/' written in flowing German,
under tho impressions of vivid recollections, and cele-
brated for their thoughtful conception and rich
revelations of terrestrial life in which he describes